Think women haven't been in combat situations already? Meet the women who dressed like men to fight in the Civil War.
The military ban on women in combat is coming to an end. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced the overturning of a 1994 Pentagon rule that restricts women from artillery, armor, and infantry jobs.
This country has had a storied history of women fighting for the country, despite various forces dissuading them from doing so. As of last year, for example, more than 800 women have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan (where about 20,000 women have served) despite the combat ban. But the story is older than that, as old as the country even. A woman by the name of
According to the National Archives, as many as 400 women fought during the Civil War while concealing their gender. Mary Livermore of the U.S. Sanitary Commission wrote in 1888:
Some one has stated the number of women soldiers known to the service as little less than four hundred. I cannot vouch for the correctness of this estimate, but I am convinced that a larger number of women disguised themselves and enlisted in the service, for one cause or other, than was dreamed of. Entrenched in secrecy, and regarded as men, they were sometimes revealed as women, by accident or casualty. Some startling histories of these military women were current in the gossip of army life.